NatSCA Digital Digest – December

Compiled by Jan Freedman, Curator of Natural History, Plymouth Museums Galleries Archives.

Welcome to the December edition of NatSCA Digital Digest!

A monthly blog series featuring the latest on where to go, what to see and do in the natural history sector. If you have something to say about a current topic, have visited an exciting new exhibition or museum, or perhaps you want to tell us what you’ve been working on, please drop an email to

Changing the World: Environmental Breakdown, Decolonisation and Natural Science collections

Save the date for the best annual conference, and catch up with colleagues from across the country. The Conference & AGM of the Natural Sciences Collections Association will be held on Thursday 14th & Friday 15th May 2020. National Museum Wales will be hosting the conference at two venues in Cardiff: St Fagans National Museum of History and National Museum Cardiff.

The #NatSCA2020 conference invites proposals for presentations exploring the role of natural science collections in addressing or engaging with ‘big issue’ challenges, both in the environment and in society. We would like to hear from anyone and everyone who uses natural science collections to interact with important global topics. For more details visit:

Climate change and museums

Henry McGhie is undertaking research into climate change activity in museums, with a survey. This is to gather a global picture to show the great range of activity that is happening across museums. The survey also helps participants understand how their work contributes to the aims of the Paris Agreement. The results will be shared with the sector and with the United Nations next year, so is a good opportunity to share your work at a high level and demonstrate your ambitions in this area.

Has your museum featured climate change in any of its exhibitions, galleries or events, even as a small part, during 2016-19? You might be featuring climate change very directly, in terms of its causes, consequences on people and nature, and/or measures to address it, or using it to interpret/reinterpret your exhibits or events. If so, please take part in this short survey (it takes about 10-15 minutes).

For more information, contact:

New exhibitions

A new exhibition at Bolton Museum, Elements, celebrates the 160th anniversary of the Periodic Table. A review of the exhibition was written up for Chemistry World, which you can read here. Elements runs from 9th Nov 2019 – 26th Jan 2020.

Art Science Nature Seminar Series

Colchester and Ipswich Museums have been awarded bursary funding from the British Art Network to devise and deliver a series of four seminars. The events are open to members of NatSCA (the Natural Sciences Collections Association) as well as the British Art Network, to promote the opportunity for sharing knowledge across networks.

The Foundation of Art and Science 16 January 2020, 10:30 – 16:00 | Ipswich Museum

The first seminar in the Art Science Nature series will explore the early foundations of Ipswich Museum and how key scientists and artists contributed to its creation. It will provide an opportunity to begin discussions on how art, science and nature play an integral part in museum collections. There will be talks on: John Stevens Henslow – Darwin’s tutor – and his botanical illustrations; how to catalogue an extensive collection of fungi watercolours; and the art of depicting birds and how to exhibit them. The day will also include a chance to look at the natural history displays in Ipswich Museum and artworks from the stores.

Drawing on Life: Natural History Illustration 24 January 2020, 10:30 – 16:00 | Ipswich Art Gallery

Many museums have artworks that depict the natural world, plant and animal life. The seminar will focus on different approaches to the research, display and interpretation of these collections. There will be a chance to hear from contemporary botanical artists, curators and researchers, as well as to visit Art Forms in Nature, a new exhibition at Ipswich Art Gallery that brings together historical natural history illustration, photography and contemporary drawing.
The events are free, and include lunch and refreshments. Spaces are limited, with advance registration essential.

To register for one or both of the first two sessions, please visit the Eventbrite page here:


African Natural History Research Trust is looking for an experienced Librarian to join their small team based in Leominster, Herefordshire, UK.

Job Title: Librarian

Deadline: Monday, 6th January 2020 – 00:00

Employer: African Natural History Research Trust, Leominster, UK.

Contract Duration: Permanent

Contract Type: Full Time (40 hours per week)

Salary: Commensurate with experience.

The African Natural History Research Trust (ANHRT) is a charitable research trust and museum focused on African entomological biodiversity. The research is aimed at increasing the scientific knowledge of African insects with an emphasis on Lepidoptera.

The ANHRT are looking for an experienced full-time librarian who will support the arrangement, cataloguing and use of the archives held at ANHRT. The archive contains a variety of formats including volumes, loose papers, plans and maps, illustrations and photographs, including photographic slides and negatives.

For more information, please contact

Happy holidays from NatSCA!

Wishing you all a very wonderful festive season with your loved ones, and those close to you! To a very happy and healthy 2020, and look forward to seeing you at our next NatSCA event!

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